Amid a growing barrage of front-page headlines, U.S. embassy officials "strongly suggested" President Bush's twin daughters, Jenna and Barbara Bush, cut short their trip to Buenos Aires because of security issues, U.S. diplomatic and security sources tell ABC News.
But the girls have stayed on, celebrating their 25th birthday over the weekend and producing even more headlines about their activities.
Officials say the media coverage upstaged publicity plans for the new U.S. Ambassador Anthony Wayne, who had only recently arrived in the country.
THE BLOTTER RECOMMENDS
Neither the White House nor the U.S. embassy in Buenos Aires responded to requests for comment.
The Argentinean press blitz followed a report on "The Blotter" last week that Barbara Bush's purse and cell phone were stolen last weekend while dining at the popular San Telmo outdoor marketplace despite being guarded by the Secret Service.
Stories of the twins' visit took on wild proportions in the Argentinean press. One tabloid headline had the young women running nude in the hallway of their hotel, a report the hotel staff denied to ABC News.
According to sources, the U.S. embassy encouraged the two girls to cut their stay short because the added attention was making their security very difficult.
But to the dismay and anger of some U.S. embassy and security staff, the girls stayed on.
Thursday night, an ABC News producer was able to walk into their hotel unchecked and engage Barbara Bush in conversation while she checked her e-mail on a computer in the lobby. Jenna sat talking with friends on a sofa nearby. No Secret Service agents were anywhere to be seen in the lobby, according to ABC News' Joe Goldman.
And yesterday the Bush twins were spotted at the Sunday soccer matches, wearing team jerseys and sitting in the owner's box, watching Argentina's top team Boca Juniors compete. Several games have been canceled due to violence in the crowds this year. In fact, last weekend no spectators were allowed to attend the match other than season ticket holders.
Sources tell ABC News the twins plan to stick to their original itinerary and stay in Buenos Aires until Thursday.
Official response from the US Embassy in Argentina:
We have seen a report from news sources stating that Embassy officials strongly suggested that President Bushâ€™s daughters curtail their visit in Argentina.
This is false, as are other aspects of the report referring to the Embassyâ€™s position on the visit.
The Embassy welcomes the visit and has provided close support and cooperation.